Critics often throw around the title “best American rock band”, usually in relation to outfits like the Drive-By Truckers, My Morning Jacket, or Wilco. Who am I to disappoint? So I’ll say it, 1372 Overton Park is Lucero’s entrance into that league. It’s a straight up American rock and roll classic and I dare you to call me on it.
The album is named for an address in Memphis with a storied history. Portions of the band’s 2003 disc That Much Further West were recorded there, and it was also a rehearsal space/karate dojo for Elvis Presley. Besides serving as the band’s practice space, at one point or another every member of the band has lived there (front man Ben Nichols up until very recently). The band is evoking their home town roots not only with the title, but the addition of a Memphis style horn section on almost every track. While this may seem a little odd from a band whose signature sound has been a punk-country hybrid, Nichols has always had a little bit of a soul singer in him. The horns are glorious and almost universally add drama and color without losing an inch of Lucero’s edge.
Classic Lucero style ballads like “Can’t Feel A Thing” and “Goodbye Again” in particular are well served by the horn section. Rockers like “What Are You Willing to Lose” and “The Devil and Maggie” seem to revel in the call and response of Brian Venable’s squalling solos and the Jim Spake (Al Green, John Hiatt, and Solomon Burke) led horn section.
After all that has been written and going to be written about the horns, the fact remains: this is a killer Lucero record. Strip away the horns and production and you get definitive Lucero from the opening Springsteen style “Smoke” to the closing Attic Tapes sound of “Mom”.
Even with their excellent back catalog, this just may be Lucero’s best record yet. And just in time too, as it’s their first on a major label. The record is out on Universal Records tomorrow (Oct. 6th). You can purchase the record directly through the band here.
Twangville has been graced with two copies of this excellent record to give away, so post your favorite Lucero songs (or tell me how wrong my review is) below. We’ll throw all the names in a hat and pull two out on Friday.
About the author: Specializes in Dead, Drunk, and Nakedness..... Former College Radio DJ and Current Craft Beer Nerd